Posts Tagged “Parenting”
Living the College Life: Tips for Maintaining Healthy Eating Habits
Whether you have struggled with an eating disorder or not, going away to school can present challenges in maintaining a healthy, balanced eating pattern. Below are some tips to consider as you settle into the collegiate lifestyle.
Maintain a consistent eating pattern
We know from both research and clinical experience that maintaining a consistent 3-meals-plus-snacks pattern decreases eating disorder tendencies (1). It also ensures that your body is receiving the energy and nutrition needed to support the life of a busy college student. Remember, you are feeding both your brain and your body.
Mind your macros
College cafeterias can open up almost endless food choices. Remember what your meal plan emphasized, balance your meal with foods that provide protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Avoid falling into diet fads that restrict one food group or another. A balanced meal provides balanced energy and satisfaction, which prevents feeling overly full or being hungry again quickly.
What Contributes to the Development of an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders are complex and serious illnesses that can cause serious harm to the individual afflicted. Characterized by a disturbance in an individual’s self-perception and food behaviors, eating disorders are biologically-based brain illnesses that are affected by environmental, cultural, and psychological factors. A key aspect of eating disorders is their complexity and the questions surrounding them—what caused my eating disorder? Will I get better? Do other people experience this?
There are certain environmental factors that may contribute to the development of an eating disorder including diet culture, the media, and peer judgment. Diet culture is a series of beliefs that idolize thinness and equate it to health and wellbeing. Diet culture manifests in less obvious ways, too, and can be seen in the way that menus portray “healthy” options as superior or how the typical chair size is made for someone thin. These diet culture consequences can plant the idea, at a young age, that thinner is “normal” and something to strive for, which can lead to disordered eating later in life.
The media is largely problematic in its portrayal of the idea that thin is superior. From the majority of celebrities and actors being thin to weight-centric TV shows like “Biggest Loser,” it’s no surprise that society gets the message that skinny is better. This media messaging infiltrates daily lives. There’s billboards of new diets, commercials promoting gym memberships to get you in beach body shape, and reality TV featuring only the thinnest of stars. When faced with this negative messaging daily, individuals can feel intense pressure to “fit in,” leading to dieting, appearance dissatisfaction, and eating disorders.
The How-To Guide for Starting your Child in Eating Disorder Treatment
When your child struggles with an eating disorder, it can be a time of fear, frustration, heartache, and confusion. From navigating treatment options to learning how to support your child’s recovery, it can be a complex and challenging time. The Emily Program knows this. Since 1993, we have worked with families and friends to help them support loved ones suffering from eating disorders.
What Is Eating Disorder Treatment?
Eating disorder treatment is specialized care that addresses all facets underlying an individual’s eating disorder along with their current behaviors. Eating disorders are treated most effectively at a specialty treatment center that provides multidisciplinary support. At The Emily Program, intensive care involves a medical professional, therapist, and dietitian. These professionals comprise an individual’s eating disorder treatment team, ensuring that their eating disorder is holistically addressed and that recovery begins with a solid foundation. At The Emily Program, treatment teams provide multidisciplinary, integrative support for individuals of all identities struggling with food and body issues. Treatment may look different for every client and can vary based on the level of care recommended for the individual.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting in Recovery
Eating disorder recovery can be fragile at times, so it is common to be concerned about if and how your eating disorder may manifest during pregnancy. While pregnancy may trigger eating disorder thoughts about weight, size, shape, or body image concerns, it can also be a time of positive change.
Understanding Eating Disorders during Pregnancy
Many women can become pregnant while in eating disorder recovery. For those who become pregnant while they are suffering from an eating disorder, it is incredibly important to receive proper medical care for both your eating disorder and pregnancy as soon as possible. This care often involves the close support of an OB/GYN alongside an eating disorder specialist. Oftentimes, eating disorders can place pregnant women at a high risk for medical complications during pregnancy—especially if the eating disorder remains unaddressed. However, with proper care and support during pregnancy, it is possible to experience a healthy pregnancy and eating disorder recovery.
Eating disorders may manifest differently in pregnant individuals but they often align with warning signs and symptoms for those who are not pregnant. These signs include:
How Involved Should I be in my Teen Child’s Treatment?
When your child is struggling with an eating disorder, it affects everyone in the family. Eating disorder symptoms can be confusing and elicit feelings of frustration, fear, and sadness. It’s difficult to know how to help, especially when you aren’t quite sure what’s going on.
Eating Disorders in Teens
Eating disorders are complex illnesses rooted in biology, psychology, culture, and more. These disorders often present when individuals are in their teens, so it’s essential to keep an eye out for eating disorder symptoms in children and young adults. Warnings signs to watch for include:
- Dramatic weight changes and/or the inability to meet growth milestones
- Eating less, eating in secret, or hiding food
- Frequent and negative talk about food, weight, or body image
- Excessive exercise to “offset” food consumption
- Bingeing, purging, or the abuse of laxatives
- Denial of disordered eating despite the concern of those around them
Episode 7: Kristine’s Recovery Story
Episode 7: Kristine’s Recovery Story
(TW: Rape). Peace Meal’s Recovery Series aims to share stories of those in eating disorder recovery in hopes of starting conversations, breaking stigmas, and encouraging healing. Kristine Irwin is a mother, advocate, and a survivor of rape and bulimia. It has been 14 years since her rape and she has been free of bulimia for 11 years. Kristine has taken time to heal and grow, which lead her to write the book Voices of Hope and start an organization against sexual assault called Voices of Hope.